by Ken Liu
Read by Anaea Lay
The fifteenth day of the first month in the seventh year of the Huayin Era:
The old man, Hae-wook Lee, had been bedridden for months. He lay on the sleeping mat, wrapped in a blanket. The drugs helped him sleep, and forget about the harsh words of his son.
It was an unseasonably warm winter day, here in this corner of Northeast Asia. Though the fire in the kitchen hearth next door had been extinguished, thegudeul smoke passages below the floor would continue to radiate residual heat for several hours. The room was so warm that the maid, Kyoon, had left the windows open to give the old man some fresh air, dry and invigorating after the new snow of the day before.
He dreamt that he was having a dinner of gogi gui. That pretty girl from years ago served him. He felt a pang of regret.
Ken Liu is an author and translator of speculative fiction, as well as a lawyer and programmer. A winner of the Nebula, Hugo, and World Fantasy Awards, he has been published in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Asimov’s, Analog, Clarkesworld, Lightspeed, and Strange Horizons, among other places. He lives with his family near Boston, Massachusetts.
Ken’s debut novel, The Grace of Kings, the first in a silkpunk epic fantasy series, was published by Saga Press, Simon & Schuster’s new genre fiction imprint, on April 7, 2015. Saga will also publish a collection of his short stories, The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories, in November 2015.
Anaea Lay lives in Seattle, Washington where she sells Real Estate under a different name, writes, cooks, plays board games, takes gratuitous walks, runs the Strange Horizons podcast, and plots to take over the world. You can hear her audio work in other places including John Joseph Adams and Hugh Howey’s The End is Nigh and The End is Now anthologies. You can find her writing in places such as Lightspeed, Apex, Daily Science Fiction and Escape Pod. You can stalk her blog or follow her on twitter @anaealay.
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Dave’s story “Saint Darwin’s Spirituals” at Variant Frequencies.